Sunday 31 December 2023

New Year's Eve: 31/12/2023

Should Auld Acquaintance be Forgot

New Year's Eve is a time to remember absent friends. 
My little warm brown friend, mr Harris of Lanarkshire, passed away mid July this year. He had been my constant, loyal companion for many years and I would like to raise a glass to the dear boy, wherever his spirit may be. When mr ishmael passed away, I became oppressed by the anxiety that I might pre-decease Harris, and that he would have to find a new home. A friend offered to adopt him in that eventuality. Now, Harris was a chap with decided tastes who had been spoilt rotten by mr ishmael and I, so I thought it best to write out some guidance for his future person. A sort of Haynes manual. Here it is.

 Harris Manual

1.    Harris usually eats 3 or 4 square meals a day – those square-shaped Caesar trays of luxury dog food. He prefers the Pâté, cut up into cubes. He doesn’t like to get his face dirty by being required to root around in his food. He likes his cubed pâté on a flat plate, with no sudden noises whilst he is dining.
2.    Harris has a sensitive stomach - don’t let him eat sheep poo, of which he is very fond. When he manages to sneak some if your attention is momentarily distracted, he then needs to go on a  chicken and boiled sticky rice diet. He then graduates to Lily’s dog food.
3.    Treats – he does not like denta stix or grain based biscuits. He likes little dog sausages, meat strips, fake bacon curls, oven dried strips of liver, and crispy salmon skin. (wild, not farmed).
4.    He likes a big drink of water at 9:30 pm, give or take 10 minutes, because he hasn’t got a watch.

1.   Harris has a pronounced dairy allergy and should not be given cheese, butter, milk or yoghurt. It causes diarrhoea with heavy bleeding, so please avoid.
2.   He is allergic to grass pollen so should be kept out of long grass in the summer. It gives him a very itchy skin.
3.   Growths. I don’t know if these are allergic in origin, but Yorkshire Terriers are prone to them. They are little growths on his skin. He’s had a couple removed by surgery, but has subsequently grown more. They are not malignant. They might be mistaken for an attached tick, but don’t try to remove them, as it would be very painful for the little chap and he would bleed profusely. They can get crusty, inflamed and infected, so then it is a trip to the vet.
Harris likes to run and he is as fast as anything, but only let him run free in the garden because he is very wilful and will run off. If you chase after him, calling Harris! he thinks it is very funny and that you are playing a chase game with him, and will then run even faster. When out and about, best keep him on a lead. If he does escape, the best thing to do is to call loudly and decisively, Harris, stay. He will ignore it, but might hesitate momentarily. Lying down in the grass sometimes works, as he may come back to check if you have passed out, then you can grab him before he dances off.
Harris knows several words, although he often pretends he doesn’t. The words should be in a clear, commanding voice. He knows the following:
1.    Harris want a treat
2.    Sit (not very good at that)
3.    Stay - and variations – stay in the car, stay in your bed, stay in the house. (this is not popular)
4.    Walk (this is popular)
5.    Come
6.    Ball, hand, fetch
7.    Toy
8.    Bed
9.    Bedtime
10. Go to sleep
11. Be quick ( when going for a pee)
12. This is your dinner and you can eat it (when you put his dinner down, he usually looks to you for permission to eat it.)
13. Harris want to go out?
14. There’s probably a lot more words, as he’s very intelligent. He knows that I am mum, so you could call yourself that, and mr ishmael  was dad or mister  - so that would be good for any new significant male in his life.
Harris tries to talk, which is hilarious, because he hasn’t got the right sort of vocal equipment for words. He tries to do this when he wants to tell you something, or get you to do something, so you have to check out what he wants. If you say, Harris want to go out? he will run to the door. Most of the time he will just come up to you and gaze at you, impressing his wishes upon you telepathically. This might be wanting to go out, or telling you he’s had a pee or a poo in the corner and it’s all your fault for not letting him out, or it’s eating time or playtime.
Harris likes to have a bed in the major rooms where people are sitting or working, and he has a fabric covered crate to go into for peace and quiet, but he is accustomed to sleep during the night with people. In the bed. He takes up a lot of room for a Yorkshire Terrier.
Harris has several tops and a big hi-vis raincoat. If the weather is cold, he needs to wear his clothes outside, as his own fur coat is quite thin. If the house is cold in winter or at night, he has a  tee-shirt to wear.
He has had some extractions, and a dental chart is with his papers. He doesn’t mind having his teeth cleaned, but he just chews the toothbrush and eats the toothpaste, so it is a bit of a waste of time.  He does have his own toothbrush and toothpaste.
The only people Harris tries to bite are vets, so it is best to tell the vet to put a muzzle on him during examinations/treatments.
editor verge stumbled across a comment by mr ishmael, on a Youtube video of Dylan's Pledging My Time Indiana: 
God, his band must have all the patience in the world, or he must pay them a great deal. My dog, Harris, could scratch a better tune than this from a Strat, and he's only a bit musical. It used to be said that people would pay good money for a tape of Bob's kettle boiling. Five of them must be here. Pledgin my time . was an all -time great blues recording, this is Alzheimer's dribbling music.
If you are interested in following it up and determining if you agree with mr ishmael's judgement, here you go:
For others of a more traditional musical cast of mind, here's some lugubrious New Year's Eve music:
Anyway, ishmaelites, goodbye to all that and welcome to the new year. More of the same, I daresay.


mongoose said...

At Mongoose Towers on every Christmas morning, the bloody cats have personal breakfasts of tuna. It is ridiculous that animals with brains the size of walnuts can remember from one year to the next the smell of tuna cooking. But they do, and then they line up in the kitchen eyes wide open.

Johnny said...

My Dad used to cook fresh coley for the cat every Friday: she was like a wild beast as she smelt the gelatinous flesh cooking. Couldn't get enough of it when it was ceremoniously put on her plate.
A lovely tribute Mrs I: and a fitting tribute for the late lamented Mr Harris.

mrs ishmael said...

Thank you, mr johnny. He's a big miss, mr Harris. That doesn't mean he was a girly, but that he is much missed. mr mike's pug once fell into the error of thinking mr Harris was a lady, when he caught sight of H. on the computer screen, on account of how very pretty H. was.
Nice to think of your Cat respecting the Catholic tradition of fish on Friday - I suppose she got steak on the other days?
Lord, the tragedy of being a domestic pet in Mongoose Towers - imagine having to wait All Year for your favourite breakfast. Maybe you could open a tin of tuna for them mid year, mr mongoose? mr. Harris was very partial to tinned wild salmon - no rubbish farmed salmon for him.

mongoose said...

It's not a tin of tuna, mrs i. The mongoosian cats do not eat things from tins at any time of the year.

Mike said...

A very touching piece, Mrs I, one I have been afraid to respond to over the last few days.

We lost Ms Pug about 8 weeks ago. She developed encephalitis (brain inflammation) suddenly, and despite the best hospital care here in Sydney, she died. Just before her 3rd birthday. We were, and are still, devastated. Christmas was a non event for us. Hard to see how this can improve.

Anonymous said...

Very sorry to hear that, Mr Mike.


mrs ishmael said...

Deep commiserations on the loss of ms pug, mr mike. I have been travelling and recovering from travelling for the last few days, and so have only just got to the blog and to your sad news.
The bitter edge of loss will soften over time, as I'm sure you know, and your dear little companion will grace your heart and memories for ever.

Mike said...

Thank you Mrs I, and Mr verge for kind works.

mrs ishmael said...

Perhaps, mr mike, there will be another little animal out there in need of a loving home and four square meals a day? Maybe not now, but maybe soon - mr pug will need a friend.

Mike said...

Mrs I: you must have been reading the tea leaves.

There is a Northern Beaches (our area of Sydney, north of the harbour) pug group. About 30 pugs that meet regularly that our two attended. We received lots of messages of condolence from the group when the sad news spread.

Several weeks after Ms Pug died, my wife received a message that Pug Rescue New South Wales had a 3 year old pug girl for urgent adoption. These are usually as rare as hens teeth and in demand, but we were given an early heads up.

It was obviously too soon for us even to discuss this, but there was another consideration. Mr Pug. He was continually wandering around the house looking for his little companion. When he couldn't find her he would take to his bed and go asleep. He was depressed and morose, and as he is nearly 12, we were getting worried.

So to cut a long story short, we took the plunge and in early December we had a new girl.

She has taken until now to realise she is safe and sound - we don't know here background - and there was a little trouble with Mr Pug at meal times, but she in now settling in and likes sleeping on my knee. She is beginning to bond with Mr Pug, so fingers crossed all will be well.

There is not a day goes by when I don't think of Ms Pug.

You should consider the same. It helps.

mrs ishmael said...

I'm so pleased for you, mrs mike and Mr Pug. All my dogs - there have been five of them over the years - have been rescue dogs. Mr Pug didn't know where Ms Pug had gone - he could smell her in the house, but couldn't find her, so the poor little chap would conclude she had run off, got lost and left you all. Same thing happened with friends of mine who had two terriers, brothers. Inseparable. When one died in a nasty accident, my friends kept the awful news from the survivor, wrapped up the body and snuck it out of the house under cover of darkness. The survivor was bereft - spent all his time searching for his brother in the house and garden. I've read that the best thing is to show the survivor the body, let him sniff it and therefore understand what has happened. They can deal with death, but not the false hope of having the loved one's scent in the house and thinking they will find their chum if they just look hard enough.
What is the name of your new pug girl?
I've considered getting another dog, mr mike - dogs have lived with me since 1987, but I don't want to go through the heartbreak again of doggy illness and death, I want to be free of the tyranny of vets, kennels and pet insurance and I want to be able to travel a bit.

Mike said...

The new Ms Pug 2.0 is called Elvie; Mr Pug is Turtle. We took more time choosing the names for our dogs than the kids.

I've heard about showing the body, but this would have been impossible for me (and my wife).

Dog ownership certainly has plusses and minuses as you say. I'm hoping these 2 see me out.

mrs ishmael said...

sorry I didn't get back to you sooner, mr mike - laptop had a quick trip to the computer boffins because I forgot its password. Just a senior moment - but I couldn't for the life of me remember it. Was it Storm!! or Gale!! or Modern!Quilts? No, it sneered at me, and it wasn't the last one, either, Weather!! The chaps soon sorted it - startlingly quickly, five minutes, a fiver. A chum of mine, who'd coincidentally brought in her i-pad for rest and recreation, remarked drily that there's no point in having a password at all, if anyone with any IT knowledge can crack it in five minutes. Ah, responded the receptionist, but he has special software. Mmmm, said my chum, this would be the special software that the crims can't get their hands on?
I was a bit disappointed to learn that Mr Pug's real name is Turtle - I loved the thought that he was called Mr Pug. Best wishes to both Turtle and Elvie.